The urn with Fr Reinisch’s ashes arrived in Schoenstatt in May 1946. It was kept in a room next to the chapel in the Retreat House (Home of the Federation), and people often went there to pray silently. At the beginning of October Fr Eise’s ashes arrived from his home.
The heroes’ graves and Engling memorial are always beautifully decorated, but on the day when Fr Eise and Fr Reinisch’s ashes were buried, the site was particularly impressive. The two simple urns surrounded with autumnal garlands stood against a black and white backdrop to which was attached a quotation from Fr Reinisch’s hymn to our Lady in letters of gold: “Offer me, O Mother, as a loving oblation.” Photos of the two heroes were hung above each of the urns, so that we could envisage them all the more clearly. It strengthened the awareness that although their bodies had been turned to ash, the spirit that gave them life continues to live and work amongst us. They are not dead, they are alive, and we shall see them again. Cotoneaster branches with their red leaves and bright red berries, a large red candle on a cast iron stand symbolized the spirit of witness that had been alive in both men. Roses, colourful autumn flowers in bowls, and large bunches of white of snapdragons were silent signs of our respect.
The memorial talks that afternoon made a deep and lasting impression on everyone. How great our departed heroes were in their readiness to give their all for the Marian Kingdom of Christ here on earth! They had committed themselves totally to Schoenstatt, so now they were to find their final resting place behind the shrine. On each side of the heroes’ graves a small grave waited to receive their urns.
As darkness fell the whole Schoenstatt Family gathered for the interment. From the Retreat House the Brothers’ choir sang a song about the oblation of the hero Sodalists in the First World War, and about bringing them home to rest near the shrine. Each verse ended in a refrain: ‘Schoenstatt! Schoenstatt!’ What a fullness of meaning those words had for the boys who set out for the battlefields among them Fr Eise. And what a fullness of meaning they had for the mature men whose ashes were about to be laid to rest in Schoenstatt’s soil. What a fullness they also had for all who had connected their lives insolubly with Schoenstatt!
As the song died away the newly blessed bells began to ring. Slowly and solemnly the procession set off from the Retreat House to the valley. The Brothers followed the crucifix and the Sodality banner. Priest in red dalmatics carried the two urns. The other priests followed in rochette and stole. Young men with flaming torches walked on either side of the urns. The families of the deceased, the priests, seminarians, men, women and Sisters follwed in silence. As the procession reached the valley the little bell of the shrine began to ring out, taking up the sound from the bells on the mountainside. For a time both urns were taken into the shrine to our Mother. It was as though all present were offering the loving oblation of the deceased to the Blessed Mother, in the same way as they had heroically offered and given it. Fr Reinisch’s last hymn before he died, “You are the great Sign …” rang out into the silence, ending with the words, “and dying I will smile, O beloved MTA
The procession then moved to the heroes’ graves. Red lights flickered from the ground around. The light of the blazing torches spread out over assembly. The Brothers sang the first part of the song of the heroic generation of the last war about the “holy springtime”. It contained the words:
“Peace and joy died
in hatred and weeping;
the believers, the pure,
The seed of their heart’s blood
soaked the earth;
in dying your name (Mary’s name)
soars like the foretaste of spring ...”
The interment followed according to the rites of the Church. The Brothers then completed their song:
“Now the earth covers them,
but they do not die,
for your motherly ‘Let there be’.
breaks through them to the light.
The radiance spreads round them
glowing through the night;
the power of the holy springtime
has been re-awakened.”
The Brothers then spoke in chorus to honour the dead. They began with the powerful words:
“This man walked to his death for the law of his God,
and showed no fear for the words of the godless.
For he was founded on a firm rock.
This is the man who despised the life of this world,
and who has entered now into the heavenly kingdom.,
for he stood firmly founded on rock ...”
In conclusion Fr Kentenich described the lives of these two great men in the lights of Schoenstatt’s secret, the perfect covenant of love with the Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt. We may look upon them as exceedingly valuable and precious fruits of this covenant of love, because their lives were transformed with the graces our Blessed Mother distributes from her place of grace. They are also witnesses to the effectiveness of this covenant of love to the coming generations. It is as though they are calling out from their graves: ‘Safeguard our legacy!’ Finally, they have drawn from this covenant of love and become creative. The ashes we are placing into the earth have to become the seed for new Christians, new heroic people of both sexes, who uphold their covenant of love with the Blessed Mother without wavering. Our present times need such people. They have to help the Blessed Mother to save the wrecked personalities and the devastated social order of our times. So our promise is this:
So let it be We shall stay true!
The young men sang:
“For the sake of the pure who sacrifice themselves, God will save a people.”
Then all sang, “We want to be a seed …” and the celebration ended.